The author discusses some of the literature on the family as educator. The family is an arena in which virtually the entire range of human experience can take place. Warfare, violence, love, tenderness, honesty, deceit, private property, communal sharing, power manipulation, informed consent, formal status hierar¬chies, egalitarian decision-making—all can be found within the setting of the fam¬ily. And so, also, can a variety of educational encounters, ranging from conscious, systematic instruction to repetitive, moment-to-moment influences at the margins of awareness.
The point of this article is that cultural evolution within human populations produces standardized strategies of survival for infants and children, strategies reflecting environmental pressures from a more recent past encoded in customs rather than in genes and transmitted socially rather than biologically.
Within anthropology we have developed several useful distinctions in discussing the questions of how grandparents do or do not play a role in the education of children in any given society, and particularly in our own. Within the context of this article the author uses the word education to include conscious teaching of any sort, whether of speech, manners, morals, or skills, but include also the process of socialization, which occurs in all societies as children learn to restrain their impulses, postpone gratification, control their sphincters, walk, talk, and participate in social life, and the process of enculturation, by which children learn a particular culture.
It is possible to combine all the individual and group consumption that goes on in the family unit into one "family consumption package" and, using economic theories designed for analyzing individual decisions, to make valid and useful statements about family activities.
This article details the use of an assessment tool entitled, the parent journal. The parent journal is a response to a reading writing exercise in which the students respond in school then bring the journal home for their parents to either respond to the student's writing or craft their own response to the topic. I would then respond to each of the journals, creating a circle of communication. Over the four years the parent journal has been in place, parents have been much more involved with their child's education and subsequently almost all of the students' academic performances dramatically increased.
Do parents have a constitutional right to be physically present at school with their children? A federal court in Texas says no.
Children attend school about seven hours per day for approximately 180 days a year, which leaves the majority of their time to be spent with their most influential teacher, their family. Intellectual stimulation and experiences outside of school have as much or more to do with achievement, readiness, and success than that which occurs in school. In spite of this understanding, almost all resources, effort, professional development, and funding are allocated to influence what happens at school. What if we could create a home-school academic support structure that allowed parents to significantly influence student learning and achievement?
In this commentary, the author reflects on what she has learned about gifted education from the perspective of a parent.